Artists on Artists: Sam Mogelonsky

Sam Mogelonsky is a Toronto-based artist, curator, designer, and arts professional with an indefatigable enthusiasm for Canadian art and Jewish culture.  As an artist, Sam uses embellishment to speak to notions of craft and decoration, while also engaging in the...
Capacity Building: Entrusting Arts Orgs to Bring Themselves to the Next Level

Capacity Building: Entrusting Arts Orgs to Bring Themselves to the Next Level

Editor's note: This week's piece is part of our series on philanthropic strategies that elevate the world of arts and culture. We encourage you to add to the conversation with comments and suggestions. At the Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, Massachusetts, every production draws on the collaborative talents of the company’s ensemble.  “It’s the best way to create art,” says Founder and Artistic Director Stacy Klein. With an ensemble, “you build your craft over time. You also...

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You’re gonna be busy. Make time for art.

You’re gonna be busy. Make time for art.

August, 18 2021. Many of us are emerging from late-summer breaks to realize that the High Holidays are "early" this year (Jackie Mason, z"l: "the Jewish holidays are late or early. When are they on time?"). So here is a gentle reminder that you make time for art and culture. This week's Compendium highlights notable exhibitions with online components. As ever, we look forward to your thoughts. And remember, you can subscribe to the CANVAS Compendium newsletter here. He's your...

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First Year, First Impressions

First Year, First Impressions

July, 28 2021 Who would be crazy enough to launch a fund supporting Jewish arts and culture in March of 2020? To our own amazement, we did.It’s been barely a year since we made our first grants to Jewish arts and culture networks. Since then, CANVAS has committed more than $1.4 million to the encourage and strengthen modern Jewish creativity in North America.We’re just getting started. But before we look ahead, we'd like to take stock of what’s happened thus far. Meeting a Need, Filling a Gap...

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Artists on Artists: Mark Rubin, Jew of Oklahoma

Artists on Artists: Mark Rubin, Jew of Oklahoma

Oklahoma-born and Texas-reared, multi-instrumentalist Mark Rubin, "The Jew of Oklahoma," is an unabashed Southern Jew. In albums like Songs for the Hangman's Daughter (2018) and The Triumph of Assimilation (2021), Rubin fuses deeply American musical influences with deeply Jewish themes. His credits include collaborations with Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars, The Other Europeans, and Andy Statman, as well as two decades on faculty at KlezKamp. Today, he lives and makes music in New...

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Jewish Film Festivals during COVID: Adaptability and Resilience

Jewish Film Festivals during COVID: Adaptability and Resilience

The pandemic was a potentially disastrous time for creators of all kinds, but we think it's fair to say that it was especially devastating to film. Pretty much every aspect of it, from filmmaking to moviegoing, is communal, and communal doesn't work well with COVID-19. But when we looked into something close to our hearts at CANVAS — Jewish film festivals — we found that like many Jewish stories, it's been complicated, but it's also been about adaptability and resilience.  Challenges create...

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Why should Pride end with June?

Why should Pride end with June?

Pride Month is coming to a close. Often this is when discussions of queer and trans rights begin to wane. This month, however, we thought we'd end the month with reminders of Jewish LGBTQ contributions to the arts as a way of keeping the Pride ball rolling. As always, we welcome your comments, and Happy Pride! The Lush Art of Art Lush Handmade gemstone pomegranate by Art Lush. Art Lush is a queer, Jewish, Edinburgh-based artist who works with found materials. They describe...

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Artists on Artists: Maya Ciarrocchi

Artists on Artists: Maya Ciarrocchi

This week CANVAS Compendium begins our semi-regular newsletter, Artists on Artists, in which we invite Jewish creators to tell us who inspires them. We begin with Maya Ciarrocchi, a New York City-based artist who works in drawing, printmaking, performance, video, and social practice. Her projects excavate disappeared histories—destroyed buildings, maps of vanished places, Yizkor books, and viewer-contributed writing—to explore themes of loss and healing.  To learn more about Ciarrocchi's...

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Beyond Kugel: The Foodies Re-invigorating Jewish Cuisine

Beyond Kugel: The Foodies Re-invigorating Jewish Cuisine

Though Jewish communities exist in every region of the world, Jewish cooking, in North America, can seem a bit limited. For many, it's Eastern European by default: matzah ball soup, potato kugel, roast chicken. As much as we love a good kugel, it's undeniable that Jewish food was due for reconsideration.  What we're seeing now confirms our idea of a renaissance in Jewish culture, with Jewish foodies infusing flavors that reflect their Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Mizrahi, and...

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Art and Activism: Visual Responses to Antisemitism

Art and Activism: Visual Responses to Antisemitism

Last week in the U.S., we saw a lot of antisemitic violence — synagogues vandalized and Jews threatened and attacked. After personal safety, the question for American Jews is how to persevere and process. What effect do these incidents have on our Jewish identities? What do we want to communicate about being a target? And how can we combine our artistic impulses with activism? These three recent visual responses explore the overlap between art and activism, suggesting...

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New Books from Jewish Women

This fraught week coincided with Shavuot, when we celebrate the gift of Torah. We might also celebrate millennia of Jewish literature. At CANVAS, we're marking the occasion with three new books by Jewish women. They explore a range of topics — the AIDS crisis, comedy, family — with wit and insight. Happy reading! Let us know what you think. Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993, by Sarah Schulman. ACT UP fearlessly and relentlessly raised awareness of...

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The Cosmic Reunion at DAWN

The Cosmic Reunion at DAWN

Beloved holidays have common ingredients. There are familiar melodies, recognizable symbols, and festive meals. Though Shavuot is significant in marking the ancient pilgrimage festival and celebrating the momentous occasion of receiving the Torah, it lacks the endearing traditions that lend others their appeal. Shavuot can be daunting to Jews who feel tentative about Hebrew texts and uncertain around matters of God and faith; after all, the holiday involves an overnight textual study that...

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No More Making Shabbos Alone

No More Making Shabbos Alone

There is an old Yiddish saying that, like many old Yiddish sayings, is not a positive one: yeder makht shabes far zikh. "Everyone makes Shabbos for themselves."Art, like Shabbos, represents the separation between the everyday and the spiritual, between the ordinary and extraordinary. We celebrate alone if we must. But we flourish in the presence of others who share our values and our vision. This is why we are so heartened by the arrival of a new film fund, Jewish Story Partners (JSP). JSP is...

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“I didn’t want to write a Holocaust book”: Menachem Kaiser on “Plunder”

“I didn’t want to write a Holocaust book”: Menachem Kaiser on “Plunder”

Menachem Kaiser’s Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure is the record of his attempt to claim his family's apartment building in Poland. Along the way he learns surprising facts about his family from treasure-hunters of Nazi artifacts. Liba Vaynberg spoke to Kaiser about his process and his complicated inheritance as a Jewish artist. LV: Why did you write this? And how?  MK: Interestingly enough, I was very adamant to not write a Holocaust book. I had been...

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The Complications at Our Table: Olivia Guterson’s “Plastover” Seder Table

The Complications at Our Table: Olivia Guterson’s “Plastover” Seder Table

For Chanukah 2020, visual artist Olivia Guterson crafted a paper lantern menorah as a public installation to illuminate the issue of homelessness. For Passover 2021, Guterson again merged her brilliantly detailed artistry, her Judaism, and her keen awareness of social and environmental issues.  At Our Table, an installation at Detroit's Museum of Contemporary Arts, invoked iconic emblems of a Passover seder table — all assembled from single-use plastic.  Reboot and the Museum of...

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You need to listen to Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton

You need to listen to Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton

We're nuts about this bluesman who plumbs the American song catalogue for forgotten gems. His music will accompany Brother, Brother, an illustrated audioplay by Aleshea Harris. And check out his Facebook page, or this online concert, or this article where he discusses his Jewish heritage.

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“Tahara”: A Compelling Coming-of-Age

“Tahara”: A Compelling Coming-of-Age

The new film Tahara has been creating a stir in the festivals. Written by Jess Zeidman and directed by Olivia Peace, Tahara is a queer coming-of-age drama about an anxious teen manipulated into a romantic encounter with her best friend during the funeral of their former Hebrew school classmate. Liba Vaynberg spoke to Peace and Zeidman about their collaboration. What happens in Hebrew school very rarely stays in Hebrew school. Whether it’s a sacred blessing burned into the back of your brain or...

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The Vessel of Song

The Vessel of Song

The Rising Song Institute is reinventing Jewish spiritual life through song. Writer and activist Lonnie Firestone spoke to Joey Weisenberg, founder and co-director of the Philadelphia-based institute. “How do you create a melody? What happens?” a participant asked. “The hardest part is not making a melody,” Joey Weisenberg replied. “It’s declaring or finalizing it as a melody. There’s a never-ending river of notes flowing through the head. As a musician, you’re trying to dip...

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Why Fund Jewish Arts and Culture?

Why Fund Jewish Arts and Culture?

At JFN's 2021 conference, Hyperallergic Editor Hrag Vartanian asked Jewish funders: Why invest in Jewish arts and culture? Passover comments from the audience illustrated by the New Yorker's Liana Finck. See the drawings and watch the video.

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Plastover: An Exodus from Plastic Waste.

Plastover: An Exodus from Plastic Waste.

Reboot challenges us to eliminate plastic for the duration of Passover. No plastic bags, straws, wrappers, cellophane, bubble wrap, take-out containers. It won’t be easy, but they have all the resources you need to make it happen.  

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Plagues + Liberation + Street Art

Plagues + Liberation + Street Art

Hillel Smith's Jewish Street Art Festival enlisted four artists to paint five murals as part of Dwelling in a Time of Plagues. Maya Ciarrocchi, Bareket Kezwer, Mike Wirth, and Smith consider contemporary plagues — grief, binary thinking, food and housing insecurity — with public art.

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Download Your “Dwelling” Companion Book

Download Your “Dwelling” Companion Book

We are pleased to share with you this gorgeous companion to Dwelling in a Time of Plagues, a Jewish creative response to the real-world plagues of our time. This coast-to-coast offline/online exhibition involves dozens of museums, public sites, and online platforms. Dwelling in a Time of Plagues invited ten artists and ten writers to respond to two questions: What has most plagued you in this year of plagues? What has liberated you?  The companion...

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Introducing the CANVAS Compendium

Introducing the CANVAS Compendium

CANVAS works to achieve a 21st-century Jewish cultural renaissance through grantmaking, advocacy, and education. The brand-new CANVAS Compendium is part of this effort — a newsletter designed to convey the highest quality and remarkable diversity of contemporary Jewish creativity. Each week we will share with you a few of our favorite projects and practitioners. We’ll keep it brief, and we’ll make sure it’s highly curated, but we predict you’ll be amazed by how energized the field is. For...

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